Durant (population 13,549) is named for its founder, Dixon Durant. He came to the area with his Choctaw-French family in 1832 by way of the "Trail of Tears" during the relocation of the Choctaw Indians to Southeastern Oklahoma. Today, the City of Durant is the location of the tribal headquarters of the Choctaw Nation.
During the mid-19th cenury, Durant was a relay station on the Butterfield Overland Mail, the first land mail service between the Mississippi Valley and the Pacific Coast. The Butterfield route ran approximately three miles west of what is now Durant's business district. The coming of the railroad in 1872 assured the community’s place as a major marketing and shipping point for the area. In 1908, Durant became the county seat of Bryan County.
The history of Durant and southeastern Oklahoma is interpreted at the Three Valley Museum, which recently reopened in a newly renovated historic building in downtown Durant. The Old Carpenter Machine Shop has been rehabilitated to house exhibits on Native American history, transportation themes, and small town life. Assisted by Federal TEA-21 funds, the project cost was over $880,000.
In 2004, Durant joined eight other cities in Oklahoma in the First Annual Oklahoma Historic Walking Tour. Created by the Oklahoma Main Street Program, the tour promotes some of the state’s most interesting historic communities. Each participating community held walking tours over nine consecutive Saturdays to encourage participants to visit all nine communities. Visitors experienced a new streetscape in Durant’s historic downtown thanks to a recent major streetscape improvement project.
Designated a Preserve America Community in November 2005.